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China introduces death penalty for food safety breaches

China has introduced the death penalty for food safety breaches as one of its latest measures to crackdown national health and safety.

A joint notice released by the Supreme Court, Supreme Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice last week has confirmed the death sentence for anyone who conducts crimes endangering food safety. 

Harsher punishments for government officials who ignore food safety offences, protect offenders or take bribes will be introduced. Strict control over the application of reprieves and sentence exemptions will also come into force.

According to the notice, Chinese authorities said: "Officials who are involved in food safety crimes should not be given a reprieve or be exempt from criminal punishment.”

Factors that judges should consider are the amount of money involved, criminal culpability, and criminal methods.

China has been beset with a string of wide-spread and high profile food safety scandals in recent years, including the adulteration of milk powder with melamine that killed six and sickened at least 300,000 in 2008.

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